With her signature 1,000-watt smile and a twinkle in her eyes, Betty White is one of today’s most recognizable and beloved TV personalities. What many of us don’t know is how extensive her career has been over seven decades, including roles as an actress, comedian, singer, and author, as well as early roles in radio in the 1940s. From game shows to talk shows to incredible success starring in comedies like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls,” and the current hit, “Hot in Cleveland,” her roles always revealed her diverse acting talent.
When most actors are winding down their careers, Betty White has accelerated hers over the past decade. Whether she is playing a dramatic role or hosting “Saturday Night Live” and bringing the house down, Betty is always the consummate professional. Along the way, she has won more than two dozen awards, including Emmys and Grammys, and has been nominated for dozens more. We agree with a 2011 Reuters and Ipsos poll that revealed her to be the most popular and trusted celebrity among Americans!
Betty White is also a great advocate for wildlife, including animal health, welfare, and conservation, as well as a pet enthusiast. She works with the Los Angeles Zoo Commission, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, the Morris Animal Foundation, and Actors & Others for Animals. When the USDA Forest Service, along with Smokey the Bear, made her an honorary forest ranger in 2010, Betty said it fulfilled her lifelong dream: she always wanted to be a forest ranger as a little girl, but women weren’t allowed to enter that profession in the 1920s. Her love of animals remained strong, however, fostered early in life by her parents. For the past 40 years Betty has worked tirelessly on behalf of animal welfare while also becoming known as a conservation champion.
For Betty White’s many efforts as a passionate advocate for wildlife everywhere, San Diego Zoo Global is truly honored to name her its 2013 Conservation Advocate.
Mary Sekulovich is an editor for San Diego Zoo Global.